What’s New With the Berenstain Bears Books?

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What’s new with the Berenstain Bears books? See all of the different children’s books in the book series. Then scroll down to read my interview with Jan and Stan Berenstain’s son, Mike Berenstain, from 2011.

But first, let’s take a deeper look at these popular children’s books…

Berenstain Bears Books

Berenstain Bears Books

Stan and Jan Berenstain began writing the Berenstain Bears books beginning in 1962 with The Big Honey Hunt. Then, they created over 200 more books to follow with sales of over 250 million.

The Bear family includes Papa, Mama, Brother Bear, and Sister Bear, and their stories are famous for teaching life lessons and good values.

In 1992, their son Mike joined his parents to co-write the Berenstain Bears books.

Now they’ve published over 300 books in the Bears book series!

Classic Storybooks (Random House)

With Bears books like Go to School, Go to the Doctor, and Moving Day these picture books illuminate everyday activities in a child’s life, including the first time doing something.

Storybooks (Harper Collins)

These additional Berenstain Bears series storybooks are about holidays, bedtime, and manners.

Chapter Books

These funny and adventurous chapter books feature the beloved Bear family in an early chapter book format, like the book Epic Dog Show.

Gifts of the Spirits Book Series (Random House)

Learn about trust, sharing, caring, and love in these Gifts of the Spirit books.

I Can Read Books

Kids love these Level 1 easy reader books, these are stories about life, including the famous Gone Fishin’ and We Love Trucks. Find a box set of I Can Read Books Level 1.

Lift the Flap Books

Add interactive elements to the classic Berenstain Bear stories with lift-the-flaps!

Board Books

Anyone else remember reading these to your babies and toddlers? My kids loved Inside Outside Upside Down and Old Hat New Hat so much that the books became tattered.

Zondervan Living Lights

These Christian picture book stories are about Easter, respect, and blessings.

Bind Up Books

These books include several stories together.

Interview with Mike Berenstain

I interviewed Mike Berenstain in 2011 using your questions from Facebook. I found out what’s new with the Berenstain Bears (a lot) including their new I Can Read books for ZonderKidz. Read on to hear what Stan and Jan’s son, Mike, says about the Bears these days.

What’s New with the Berenstain Bears Books

Berenstain Bears

Melissa: Mike, I can’t believe how many books you’ve published this year. With your dad’s passing, you started working more with your mom on the books. Tell us what is new with the Berenstain Bears.

Mike: We are doing a number of books with Zondervan using our traditional square paperback format about the Golden Rule and saying your prayers.

Our publisher, Harper Collins is the parent company of Zondervan. When Zondervan began doing books in the I Can Read format, a line of book that has religious themes, I suggested we come up with the Good Deed Scouts. We quote biblical verses in support of morals.

Berenstain Bears

Our books fall into two categories – Read To and Read Themselves. I wanted to do a line of books which were easy reading but also taught lessons and morals like our other story books.

I made up characters called the Good Deed Scouts. Their role is everyday they must find a good deed to do –like rescue a kitten up a tree, or help a neighbor having trouble mowing the lawn. Each book has an ethical content to it. People who are looking for that come to our books for that purpose.

We have ongoing plans into 2014 for more I Can Read books.

Also, we’re doing books in the lift-the-flap format like Here’s the Church, Here’s the Steeple and Get Ready for Christmas, where kids find various figures of Christmas Nativity scene.

We’re in the early stages of a Storybook Bible with simplified stories from the bible as characters. It will have papa bear reading Bible stories to the cubs who are imagining it happen.

We have a feature film in the works – going to be a story that brings the Berenstain Bears into contact with real live people, so it’s going to be a digital CGI interacting with live action, designed to be all ages.

Melissa: Are any of the stories taken from real life?

Mike: Some are, some aren’t. But they all are about everyday life. Sometimes about very literal experiences, other times, I have an idea from general life.

Melissa: Were you always interested in illustrating?

Mike: I was very focused on science growing up. In high school, I got interested in art. I was very interested in biology, nature, and animals. My parents had a library of art books.

Berenstain Bears

I was constantly reading growing up. My favorite author was Dr. Seuss, who was my parents’ initial editor.

Melissa: Did your own children like the Bears books?

Mike: I read to them, of course. We had all the books at home, but they’d want to take my copies and bring them home from the school library, too.

Melissa: How did it happen that you joined your mom to write and illustrate the books?

Mike: My parents started out as magazine cartoonists, which was their main career when I was a child. They got into doing children’s books first 1962 when I was 9 years old. The experience of them being authors and illustrators seemed normal to me growing up.

Berenstain Bears

I started my career in freelance illustrating. It wasn’t until the late 80s that I started getting involved with them. Now Mom is 88. I write, and we illustrate together.

Melissa: Is there a big difference in your personal styles?

Mike: Having been trained by my parents, I did know a lot of their techniques. When I started out, I did a lot of realistic work – in the 70s and 80s. When I started working with my parents, I was able to imitate their style.

Over the years the Berenstain Bears have changed visually.  The first books were cartoon-oriented – big long claws and spikey fur.

My parents made the bears more rounded and symmetrical in the mid to late 80s, and that’s pretty much the way they look now — fingernails, not claws anymore.

Their early books were easy-to-read comic slapstick adventures. As the beginner books evolved, they became about everyday family life. {apa became less clownish and became more of a family man. Mama became more involved. Family is universal and constant – everybody lives in some kind of family.

Parents and I have always tried to make the books entertaining and interesting with simple humor.

Melissa: Mike, thank you so much for sharing with us. It is an honor to talk with you in person. We’re happy to hear the Berenstain Bears will continue to entertain and teach us for more years to come. 

How many Berenstain Bears books are there in total?

The Berenstain Bears have over 300 published books!

What is the complete list of Berenstain Bears books?

For a pdf download of the book list in order, visit this page.

Also check out these Berenstain Bears iPad Book Apps.

What's new with the Berenstain Bears books? See all of the different children's books in the book series. Then scroll down to read my interview with Jan and Stan Berenstain's son, Mike Berenstain, from 2011.


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  1. It’s so interesting that the Berenstain Bears have such strong branding that it can be passed down to the next generation in terms of content creation. I think that’s rare! I wonder if Marc Brown Arthur series can pull that off.

  2. The whole notion of growing up so intertwined with the Berenstain Bears is fascinating. Thanks Melissa for giving us a window in the world of Mike the son as well as the author and illustrator.